I really enjoyed reading the article Schools and Students Clash Over Use of Technology, some great points were brought up which I agree and disagree with at the same time. The world is changing at a very fast pace and I agree the methods of teaching and education need to move right along with it, in fact, it’s vital for the students’ success that our teaching methods keep up with the world around us. I also agree in order to get to students to engage you need to find what motivates the student and work with that. Our society is technology based, it’s integrated in every part of our lives so it makes sense to use it in the classroom. Most kids in our society use technology on a regular basis, particularly their smart phones to access social media. However, with that being said I’m still not completely sold on the idea of using cell phones in classrooms. I think if you have the right teacher, one who has great classroom management, who is respected by her students and the right group of kids, it could work really well and enhance the students’ learning experience. If the teacher doesn’t have the right control over her classroom, I foresee chaos and what was intended to be a tool to enhance learning ending up being a major distraction. In order for cell phones to be properly used as an educational tool to motivate the students and enhance their learning experience, the teacher needs to make sure rules and expectations are clear, understood and respected.
The TEDX Talk I watched was “Education is Broken”. It introduced a concept of a student-centered schooling being implemented in the Philadelphia School District. The concept is based on forming a school that instead of teaching at children, it teaches to the children. Chris Lehmann’s idea is to teach children how to live, to love learning and to learn while doing things they are good at and instead of standardized test which restrict creativity the children complete benchmark projects each quarter . Lehmann describes the current school environment to a factory – passing kids from subject to subject through the factory line because our notion of school is it is supposed to prepare the kids for the work force instead Lehmann believes schools should teach the students to be citizens, and positive influences on their society, to become better than the person you are today and by teaching children this we teach them how to be husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, members of a community – much more than preparing them for the work force. The purpose of schools should be to open our student’s minds to ideas, innovation and critical thinking. I whole-heatedly agree with Lehmann’s concept. I think to engage a student in the learning process and create a desire for lifelong learning the child needs to be interested and felt their work matters. When a child is given ownership of their work, they become more invested in the product. They learn to ask questions, seek out answers and build, which not only helps them discover themselves but teaches more than a standardized test ever could. However in schools today, I think the Common Core Standards really hinder a teacher’s ability to promote this type of learning, I’m not saying it can’t be done but I feel it restricts the creative teaching and learning that’s so desperately needed in classrooms. With the CSS teachers can fall into the trap of teaching to the test very easily because of the pressures of a 100% passing score. Overall, I think a student centered teaching approach is extremely important for the success of the child.
While pursuing the twitter-sphere I came across a blog that was retweeted. The blog The Innovative Teacher written by Lisa Nielsen is a great resource and tool for teachers to go to learn how to present material in fresh new ways to engage the student.
One post I found particularly interesting is Using Cell Phones to Increase Student Achievement and Engagement with Reading and Writing. Cell phone use when I was in school was non-existent until I reached high school and even then it wasn’t allowed to be turned on during school hours – so it was very interesting to read ways in which texting can be implemented in a classroom to facilitate in learning reading and writing skills – check it out!
Shelley Wright’s article, The Nuts & Bolts of 21st Century Teaching takes us through her first experience implementing project based learning in her classroom. Project based learning is an effective teaching method to really involve students. Instead of being lectured by a teacher at the front of the room, this puts the learning into the student’s hands. They are excited, self-motivated and invested because ultimately they have ownership over the project. Through this method of teaching Wright has become a ‘co-learner’ and a facilitator to encourage her students to seek out information, ask questions and develop their own thoughts. I thought it was great that Wright mentions going to twitter for suggestions on helping her students get through a roadblock – again, reaffirming the need to have these social networking sites to be connected to and have support from fellow teachers. Project based learning gives students the opportunity to tailor the learning to their own unique needs – it’s not a one size fits all approach and, it allows for a meaningful, interactive and engaging learning experience for each student.
It doesn’t get much better than this: Collaborating. Communicating. Connecting.
My dad and uncles setting up speakers on a laptop, it took some time and collaboration between them but they figured it out!